September 11, 2011 |
Dear Liz: I was laid off in November 2009. For the first year, I took the unemployment and tried to find a job without success. So, in late 2010, I started my own business, contracting mainly for employers for whom I used to work. Unfortunately, I am making about a third of what I used to make, and even after cutting expenses, there are months that I can't pay my bills. I have taken two withdrawals from my self-directed IRA this year. Is that the smartest thing to do? Or should I even out my cash flow by writing myself loans from my home equity line of credit?
December 18, 2011 |
Dear Liz: We are getting coaching from a finance advisor. He suggests using a home equity line of credit as investment capital. Your opinion on this? Answer: You're not dealing with a financial advisor who has your best interests at heart. You're dealing with a salesman who is mostly, if not solely, concerned about the commission he's going to earn from selling you an insurance or investment product should you take his unsound advice. Borrowing to invest is a risky strategy.
August 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Hard economic times have helped push millions of Americans deeply into debt, plunging many into a dark world filled with relentless collection agents, aggressive lawyers and companies that profit mightily if they can get people to pay up. Aided by outdated laws and lax oversight, debt collection has become a $12-billion-a-year business as people increasingly have fallen behind on their bills for credit cards, student loans, hospital stays...
August 19, 2012 |
Dear Liz: I co-signed some private student loans for my youngest child. She graduated two years ago with about $80,000 in student debt, including federal and private loans. Like many other recent graduates, she has had a difficult time finding a job. She worked part time at a retail store until about a month ago and made around $7,000 annually. I have been helping her make reduced payments and she has gotten deferments and income-based repayment plans. But I'm planning to retire in a few months and won't be able to make the payments as I have been.
February 16, 2013 |
Bill Sepe has gotten used to rejection. The 28-year-old Rancho Cucamonga native has put in nearly 200 unsuccessful offers since August on Inland Empire homes, varying from typical suburban ranches to classic craftsman homes. All this anguish comes in pursuit of a modest home in the exurb of San Bernardino County, the epicenter of the Southern California housing crash. Plummeting values here sparked a vicious wave of foreclosures. But it's precisely because prices fell so far here that Sepe can't buy a house now. In a sharp irony, many would-be homeowners in hard-hit markets can't compete with a flood of all-cash offers from investors, some backed by Wall Street war chests.
September 25, 2011 |
Like a lot of middle-aged people these days, Nancy Lomen, 50, is thinking about retraining for a new career. What the San Gabriel resident and her husband, Bill, 64, are trying to figure out is whether a $60,000 investment in Nancy's education is a smart bet at their ages. They have two children, one in college and another who will be in college next year, and little in the way of retirement savings. "I've been thinking and dreaming about becoming a registered nurse midwife for a good 10 years," Nancy said.
October 14, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — If you have a pressing need to raise some cash, here's some good news: Rising home values are encouraging lenders to revive a product that imploded during the housing bust years — second mortgages. Researchers at Equifax, one of the three national credit bureaus, say total outstanding balances of second home mortgages at banks rose in the latest month for the first time in nearly five years. Though the blip was relatively small — about three-tenths of a percent — analysts say any increase in the amount of second mortgages is a bellwether event, indicating that major lenders are showing growing confidence that the real estate market has finally made the turn to recovery.
August 29, 2011 |
I should have known better. I worked in the credit union industry and spent nearly 20 years educating members about risky mortgages, home equity loans and the importance of thrift. Even so, in 2006, I joined the vanguard of the foreclosed-upon. It wasn't the bad loan that did us in; although we did stupidly finance 100% of our home's inflated purchase price with an interest-only first mortgage and a home equity loan. At first, I insisted we apply for a traditional, 30-year fixed mortgage.
April 12, 2013 |
Dear Liz: I try to watch out for my neighbors, a married couple in their early 90s. Two of their three sons, who are both in their 60s, want them to get a reverse mortgage. The couple's house is paid off as well as their cars. They pay all their monthly bills with Social Security and his pension. They have a living trust as well. Neither I nor the couple see any reason or upside but the sons are pressuring. Any input? Answer: A reverse mortgage is typically a last-resort option for elderly people who are strapped for cash and who have few options for generating income other than tapping their home equity.
March 1, 2008 |
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a regulatory filing that it expected about $450 million in home equity loan losses for the first quarter, and that home equity losses could be double that by the fourth quarter. The filing elaborated on information given to investors during JPMorgan's Investor Day on Wednesday, when bank executives said they expected loan charge-offs to increase sharply in 2008.